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Christians 'Exploiting' Tsunami Disaster, Group Says

Christians 'Exploiting' Tsunami Disaster, Group Says

Author: Susan Jones
Publication: CNSNews.com
Date: January 10, 2005
URL: http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewNation.asp?Page=%5CNation%5Carchive%5C200501%5CNAT20050110a.html

Christian missionaries hope to spread the Word of God along with relief supplies in South Asian nations devastated by the tsunami. But the religious outreach isn't going over well with some Muslims.

"We need to get past the death toll and get focused on the living -- because that's where our ministry is going to be," the Baptist Press quoted its disaster relief coordinator in Aceh, Indonesia, as saying.

The coordinator -- whose real name was not given for security reasons -- told the Baptist Press, "We've got an opportunity to reshape the people's perception of Christianity. They've got us categorized in just one box [together with all Westerners]....We can reshape that."

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, in a recent email to supporters, said Christian missionaries are "exploiting the tsunami suffering."

In its Jan. 7 "American Muslim News Briefs," CAIR included a report from the Agape Press, which noted that a Virginia-based missions ministry has sent teams to South Asia "to fulfill disaster victims' needs even as it works to fulfill the Great Commission."

"When they're passing out a bottle of water, a blanket, a lantern, a candle, they're passing out gospel tracts with them," the Agape Press quoted that ministry spokesman as saying.

The spokesman said missionaries are seizing the opportunity "to be a witness of the love of Jesus Christ to the Hindus, to the Muslims, to whoever was affected, certainly fulfilling the commandment to take the gospel to everybody."

CAIR's newsletter also linked to a second report, this one in the Philadelphia Inquirer, saying that evangelical Christian groups plan to bring the Gospel to tsunami victims along with relief supplies.

The Inquirer quoted one missionary as saying that the tsunami disaster "is one of the greatest opportunities God has given us to share his love with people."

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